A Few Words For The People Who Think That College Should Be Free

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Don’t go.

Or if you’re already there, drop out.

College drop outs have gone on to do tremendous things with their lives. You could be one of them. Contrary to popular opinion, you can live a fulfilling life without a college diploma.

But you think that a college diploma is your right.

Why? Where is this written?

The Bible? The Magna Carta? The Constitution?

No, no and no. The Constitution does speak of our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Here’s the trick. Your pursuit of happiness can’t cut in on someone else’s pursuit of happiness. When it does, it stops becoming a right and starts becoming criminal.

I don’t blame you for this. Most likely, you’ve been raised to believe that it’s all about you. You were probably given trophies for being on little league teams that went 2 and 14. And, most likely, you attended a school where babysitting and indoctrination took priority over education. So it’s not all your fault.

Someone has to break it down for you and since no one has up until this point. I’m happy to do the job.

Maybe college isn’t for you. I know. I know. It’s your dream. I get it. I had a dream too. My dream was to be a starting running back in the NFL. Things came to a screeching halt for me when I was about 12. So I found something else to do. I didn’t try to force my dream on others. I just found a new one. You should do the same thing.

There is another option but I’m afraid that you’re going to like it even less. It’s just one word. Risk. If you really want to go to college, take out a loan to pay for it and hope that you can get a good enough job to pay that loan off in a timely manner. So you might want to switch your major from Studies of Lesbian Culture As It Relates to Reality Television to something a bit more practical. Maybe law.

Here’s the first rule of economics. Are you ready?

Nothing is free.

Nothing.

Even if you get something for free, someone else is paying for it. And I know that you think that you’re sticking it to The Man by making him pay for it. You’re not. You’re actually sticking it to yourself. You see, if you keep making The Man pay for everything, he won’t have enough money to create a job that could’ve been yours. And eventually, he and all of his other one percenters will leave the country. After enough of them leave, guess what. You become a one percenter. So, Mister One Percenter, are you ready to pay for other people to go to school so that they can get a worthless degree in Sociological Metaphors in the Music of Drake?

I didn’t think so.

You have two options. Take the risk that your diploma will be worth enough to pay back your loans without everyone else’s help or just go find a job working retail or driving a delivery truck. Those jobs are no less important than any other job on the planet. Here’s the thing. If you work really hard, show up everyday, go more than three hours without stopping to Snap Chat someone about how terrible your boss is and try not to stage any walk outs, you might just get a promotion. And if that keeps going, you may even work your way into a position where your employer willingly pays for you to go to school. Or, better yet, you might figure out that you’re already making more money than your friends with college degrees.

Imagine that!

And before too long, you’ll be moving on up in the world. You may even find yourself making $300,000 a year. Oh, but wait a minute. That would put you in the the top one percent.

Now you’re the evil, rich scum.

Once you reach your new tax bracket, you’ll probably change your tune about making the top one percent pay a 90% income tax rate so that some kid you’ve never met can go to school to learn about the impact of Taylor Swift’s music on plant life.

Contrary to what you’ve heard, there’s no shame in stepping away from something you can’t afford.

But there’s plenty of shame in calling that thing a right and making someone else pay for it.

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A Word To Fast Food Workers Wanting $15 An Hour

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Money is important. It matters. Some will tell you that the Bible says that money is the root of all sorts of evil. That verse comes right after the passage where Jesus tells the parable of Johnny beating the devil in a fiddle duel. In other words, that verse isn’t in the Bible. There is one like it.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV)

That’s, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.”

It may not look like a big difference but it really is. To say that money alone is the root of evil is to imply that the rich, not the poor, will fall into one of those evils. The love of money is different. Anyone can be guilty of loving money in a way that leads to sin. The rich banker and the poor cardboard box dweller are just alike in this regard.

Bad theology isn’t the only way that we get our ideas of money wrong. Here are a few others ways.

1. If you are making minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, you are getting paid what you deserve.

You read that right. You don’t deserve to make $15 an hour for dropping fries in a big pot of oil and slapping a room temperature piece of fresh fish between two buns.

2. If you are making minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, you are right, you cannot live off of that money.

Therefore, instead of walking around the street holding a sign asking for more money, you should find another job. Find a job that pays more. Find a job that pays the same but allows you to keep your old job too. Two jobs won’t kill you. There’s a good chance that the evil, greedy boss who is paying you either has or is currently working two jobs. You could also find a way to get into school, any school, and learn a trade. Stop looking for your dream job and settle for one that will pay you enough to actually live off of.

And, whatever you do, don’t listen to Pitbull and Ne-Yo when they sing that song about knowing that their rent is going to be late but going to the club anyway to spend their last twenty bucks. That is one of the most ignorant songs that has ever been written. It preaches a mindset of poverty. Sadly, it has become the anthem for many people today. Don’t make it yours.

3. If you are making minimum wage at a fast food restaurant and you go on strike demanding $15 an hour here’s what you do deserve.

You deserve to be fired.

And your job should be given to that person who is looking for a second job to fund night school.

4. If you are making minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, your boss isn’t making too much money.

Neither is his boss. And neither is the guy who started the business. In fact, as long as they’re getting it legally and ethically, there isn’t a CEO on this planet who is making too much money.

As much as you may hate it, you should want your boss to make a lot of money. If your hard work and good attitude helped to make that happen, there’s a good chance that it will pay off for you. If not, find another place where it will. The last thing you want is for your boss to be broke. But that’s just what he’ll be if you get your way and the government makes him pay you $15 an hour for putting salt on fries.

Here’s a simple math question.

Mr. Smith pays Johnny $7 an hour for cleaning the bathrooms and making fries at The Pig N Suds Laundromat and BBQ Cafe. Johnny would like to make twice that much for doing the same job so he asks the government to make Mr. Smith pay him $15 an hour. The government makes Mr. Smith double Johnny’s salary. After two months, Mr. Smith closes The Pig N Suds Laundromat and BBQ Cafe due to high operating expenses. How much money will Johnny make then?

If your answer was, “The train leaving Dallas,” nice try.

The answer is $0.

The love of money makes us do terrible things. It makes us lie, cheat and steal. It also makes us demand what we don’t deserve.

If you want $15 an hour, make the necessary sacrifices in order to become a $15 an hour employee. That’s what providers do.

Lovers of money are different. They just make demands based on their wants. And those demands are never enough. Eventually, $15 will need to be $20. And then $30. Until Mr. Smith finally has to close up shop.

And you’re left with $0.

And that nagging old love of money.

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The Grade School Economist

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There comes a point in one’s educational journey when you arrive at the realization that what you are learning, as good as it may be, isn’t the way it is in the real world. For me, that happened in my 12th grade wood shop class when I figured out that I would probably never use a table saw. I got transferred to an electronics class.

For my son, it happened this week when he brought home an economics study guide. The material on the study guide was excellent. But sadly, it isn’t being applied in today’s America.

Here are a few examples.

Study Guide: “Economics is the study of how people use resources. Natural resources are resources from God such as water, fish, and farmland.”

Today’s America: “Economics are rules that only get in the way of the government trying to give you what’s best for you. Natural resources such as water, fish, and farmland belong to the government. Never use natural resources, you selfish pig.”

Study Guide: “Producers sell goods and services.”

Today’s America: “Producers are greedy, old men who own fast food restaurants and only want to make more money so that they can golf more. They have no compassion for their hard working, completely non-greedy minimum wage employees who go on strike every two weeks because they want more money to spend on video games.”

Study Guide: “A budget shows how much you earn and spend.”

Today’s America: “A what?”

Study Guide: “Savings can be used for sudden expenses.”

Today’s America: “Credit cards are used for sudden expenses. Or, in the case of the federal government, money printing machines are used for sudden expenses. Either way, it’s free money. Savings accounts are only for those greedy fast-food restaurant owners.”

Study Guide: “People earn an income by working.”

Today’s America: “People earn an income by watching Judge Judy, having kids, developing a drug addiction, creating art that they could never sell without the aid of the government, having more kids, getting their own reality show, voting for people who promise to increase their wages for doing nothing and having kids. Anything but work. Oh, and did I mention having kids?”

Study Guide: “Prices of items are determined by the supply and demand.”

Today’s America: “Prices of items are determined by the government after they establish a monopoly by bailing out their ‘too big to fail’ corporate buddies and forcing the small, private producers out of business.”

Study Guide: “Wants are things that people would like to have.”

Today’s America: “If I want it, I have a right to it. And if I can’t afford it, someone else has to pay for my right to whatever it is that I want. Now give me my smart phone!”

Study Guide: “A factory is a place in which people use machines to make goods.”

Today’s America: “A factory is a place where people once used machines to make goods. But then it had to shut down because the owner of the factory couldn’t afford the new federally mandated insurance plans and the mandatory minimum wage increase. A factory is now something in another country where small children are used to make goods.”

I didn’t learn economics until the 9th grade. My son is learning it before he turns ten years old. I couldn’t believe it when he came home and showed me his study guide. That night, I even brought it to bed with me to read again.

I’m thinking about mailing it to the folks up in D.C.

Do Gooders and Special Interests

There’s a lot of talk about raising the minimum wage. Most of those arguing in the affirmative do so from an emotional viewpoint. But policies that are based solely on emotional arguments usually end up hurting the very ones promoting them. In this clip, Milton Friedman explains how government mandates regarding minimum wage laws always do much more harm than good.

“One Dollar, Bob.”

A few things about this video.

1. Bob Barker commits a hate crime (0:05).

2. People get way, way too excited about carpet (0:37).

3. Jose has never seen The Price Is Right (1:30).

“Everything?”

“Everything!”

4. Bob Barker is really impatient. In fact, he’s kind of a jerk (1:41).

5. Jose either…

a.) Has no concept of finance

b.) Works for the IRS

c.) All of the Above

6. Jose is at least man enough to know when he’s done something stupid (1:52).

7. Take back what I said earlier about Bob Barker. He’s actually very kind and gracious (1:58).

8. Hit pause at 2:23. Gay is a serial killer (2:23).

9. Jose still thinks he has a chance (2:47).

10. Why is Gay so surprised (3:05)?

So the moral of the story is quite clear. If you ever make it on The Price Is Right and you’re not quite sure what to do, always, and I mean always, say, “One dollar, Bob.”

Melissa Harris-Perry’s Trap Floor

I love to run through the woods.  It’s how I start most of my mornings.  But running through the woods can be dangerous.  A while back I stepped on a rock and messed up my ankle pretty bad.  I was about five miles from my truck so I spent the next hour trying to do those crazy breathing exercises my wife learned when she was pregnant.

A while before that I almost stepped on a snake.  A big brown snake.  When I saw it I automatically started doing the Deion Sanders high step and screaming and moaning like I was trying out for a Doors cover band.

And of course there’s the occasional weirdo that you find out in the woods.  No, not the one doing breathing exercises while high stepping and impersonating Jim Morrison.  Other weirdos.  Like the grown men with plastic swords that spend the afternoon pretending to kill each other.

Sometimes I have to run on a track.  The track is perfectly safe.  I’ve never turned my ankle at the track.  There are no snakes and no fighting swordsmen.  Just me and the elders of the community.  Going about our business.  In circles.  Which is another way of saying that we never go anywhere.

Melissa Harris-Perry set off a firestorm earlier this week with her comments encouraging communities, not parents, to take ownership of children.  MSNBC released another promo this week featuring Harris-Perry.  This time her sights were set on money.

In the promo, Harris-Perry says that, “we have to have a floor under which nobody falls.”  This is yet another progressive idea that sounds loving and forward thinking but, upon closer examination, is exactly the opposite.  When we depend on the government to establish such a floor we can count on there being a ceiling about two, maybe three inches above that floor.

In a free society, there are most certainly dangers.  People can get hurt.  They can lose everything.  But they can get back up.  The sky is still the limit, so to speak.

But in a society with a government mandated floor things look a lot safer because everyone is more alike.  There’s no fat cat soaring through the sky while some poor cat plunges into free fall.  No, in this society, there are no free falls, or so we are told.  But what we are not told is that there is also no soaring.  Everyone is pretty much in the same class, lying on the government mandated floor while praying for the government mandated ceiling not to come any closer.

Harris-Perry goes on to say that all people have the right to, “health care, and to education and to decent housing and to quality food at all times.”  This is the same short-sighted line of reasoning that is slowly chipping away at the concept of free speech in this country where tolerance is god and those who refuse to bow are not tolerated.

It works the same economically.  It sounds good to say that everyone has a right to the best doctor, a high dollar education, a sweet house and grilled salmon with a side of rice and a glass of bourbon.  But upon closer examination we learn that someone has to pay for all of that.  It suddenly doesn’t seem so loving when a family can’t afford to fund their so-called right to quality medical care, good food and nice schools because they are forced to fund someone else’s quality medical care, good food and nice schools.

Melissa Harris-Perry is not the problem here.  The real problem is her employer.  Remember the days when news organizations just told us that the president was coming to town?  Neither do I.  But I am told that at one time that was the case.  Now, instead of just letting us know to expect a little traffic during the presidential traffic, MSNBC and Fox News feels the need to share their opinion on why the president is coming to town while at the same time telling us how we should feel about his visit.

When major media outlets stop reporting about the president and start reporting for the president we shouldn’t waste our time worrying about the loss of individual liberty.  Most likely, it’s already been lost.

We were just too busy fighting for our presumed right to a leaner cut of steak to notice.